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Hamstrings, hamstrings, hamstrings.
At no time in recent memory has that macabre word been heard so consistently set next to the adjective "pulled" as in talk of this year's Harvard baseball team. Three key players this season--sophomore Joe Weidenbach, junior Bryan Brissette and, most recently, sophomore Marc Levy--have gone down with the painful malady whose very utterance is sure to evoke mixed images of "Lord of the Flies" and thanksgiving dinner.
Add that to captain Mike Giardi's broken hand and you get a season that begs to be described as unlucky.
Just don't tell that to Harvard's players.
"You can't make excuses," said Levy, a player who deserves to curse the gods of four-leaf clovers if every there was one. "You can't talk about the season that might have been. We had our chances, and we didn't take advantage of them. I think any player would tell you that."
"It's been rough--we've really had to adjust," freshman Mike Hochanadel said. "But you can't write off the season just because of that. There are a lot of factors."
A look at the season attests to that. More than anything, the team's problem has been consistency.
For example, prior to this weekend, the squad was playing some of the best ball of the season, putting in two solid games in the Beanpot.
This past weekend, though, the team hit trouble, in the form of Dartmouth. Although only a 6-10 team going into the four games, the Big Green dominated Harvard, taking three of four contests.
Then, just two days ago, the Crimson bounced back against Boston College, a team it had tied in the Beanpot. Down 3-1 early, the team battled back to win 4-3 and garner its first win over the Eagles in three years.
"We've been up and down--we've never really found our stride," Levy said. "There was a sense that anything could happen on any given day."
Despite Levy's use of the past tense, the Crimson's season is not yet over.
The squad has two games left next week against non-league foes Northeastern and UMass on Turesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Northeastern is having one of its best seasons in recent memories. The squad was 20-7 as of last week, having beaten such hefty opponents as Lynn and St. Thomas.
OK, so the team's competition has not been the best, but the Huskies did beat the Crimson 4-3 in the firstround of the Beanpot, and Harvard is expecting a tough challenge.
"They have been having the a really good year," Hochenadel said. "I'm sure they will be looking for a sweep."
UMass is more of an unknown for the Crimson, but the Minutemen rarely fail to put out a good team, and this year's version should be no exception.
"They'll be good, no doubt," Hochanadel said.
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